Spring Break-down

Ava's apparently too tired to help me and Benji's in hiding...guess I'll have to pack for this trip all by myself again!

We're heading out of town to visit my Aunt Jann and Uncle Edward in a much (hopefully) warmer state than ours. We haven't seen them in around two years and they've never met Ava.

They live on a farm and raise beef cattle. The cattle are grass fed, free range and very well cared for; the healthiest beef you can buy! My Uncle is an ND. (a naturopathic doctor) and they also run a small health food store in conjunction with his practice. Aunt Jann and Uncle Edward are very busy and are graciously taking time out to visit with us, they're very excited to see how the kids have grown.

We're planning on stopping a third of the way into the trip to visit a children's museum that we've never been to before, hoping that Ava will be tired enough from running around there to take a VERY long nap while we drive!

I'm signing off for the week; we'll be gone for half of it and when we get back, I'm going to try to convince Marvin that we should get started on our next project in the house...detail and before/after pictures to come!

Have a great week, hope it's warm and full of new flowers in your yards!
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Cheap Thrills and Booze

Who knew that this $2 toy from the Goodwill store would entertain ages 7-1? The boys have played obsessivly with it since we got it a couple days ago; Ava's so upset that they've taken her toy, it's driven her to drink...

Tee-hee! No, actually she raided the recycling stuff; the scary thing is that she actually swallowed something when she put the bottle down...Maybe (but doubtful) Marvin had rinsed it out with water before he put it in the box??
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Fancy Pants

Sunday morning, 8:14 am, precisely 34 minutes after we should have left the house...
In the front yard, snagged a picture on the way to snag a quick breakfast at Bob's on the way to church, on the way to my sister-in-law's house for lunch, on the way home to fix dinner for my family before the second egg hunt of the day, finished homework on the way to bed because it's a school night. Whew! Happy Easter, everyone!

Can't wait for Spring Break next week!
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Saturday was the big egg coloring day...boys were excited, Ava was napping, Mom was dreading the mess, Dad was pretending to be involved while he watched the basketball game...

Benji had quite a few "splash down" episodes; I used a lot of Oxi Clean on his shirt later!

Alec trying his hand at the mysterious clear wax crayon that comes in the kit; he did pretty well considering that you really can't see what you're writing

Note the muddy teal- ish color? Ok, here's the lowdown: I won't buy any eggs unless they are free range or free range and organic. I had the awful privilege of visiting a small farm that raised some "commercial" chickens, and that did it for me.

I have a real problem supporting farms that treat our food (meat or veggies) in an un-natural way because it's more convenient or they can make more profit. When food is raised/grown naturally, the way God intended for it to be, it's just plain better for our bodies. For me, that includes eggs from chickens that are allowed to roam free in a grassy yard, not stacked up on each other in hot, filthy boxes.

Marvin knows this and when he reminded me to go get eggs to color, he also gently reminded me that the brown eggs that I typically buy (that are free range) probably wouldn't look very good after they were dipped in dye. Well, after I waited in the line (yes, I did say "line"!!) at the egg cooler at Meijer on Friday, I had resolved to get only one dozen of the white commercial eggs and a dozen of my "guilt-free" free range eggs.

As soon as I got in the car to come home, it hit me that while I thought I was so clever in compromising with half commercial eggs and half free range, I had completely overlooked the fact that half of those eggs would be brown...

So, my lovely BROWN free range eggs had to sit in the dye for at least 2 or 3 minutes, much to the dismay of my boys (all three of them!) and let me say that brown eggs do not, indeed, color well.
The boys still had fun, though, and I'm having fun trying to figure out how to get my family to consume all 24 hard boiled beauties!
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Yes, I know this post is a tad outdated...We're just now starting to feel somewhat normal after the long and snot-filled bout with assorted viruses.

We did have fun in all that snow two weeks ago, and now I keep checking the front yard for tips of tulip leaves.

During my absence from blogland:

*We've recovered from the nasties
*Alec and Benji have raced in the annual Pinewood Derby with Cub Scouts
*I "taught" one of the naughtiest Sunday school classes I've ever seen
*Marvin's wedding band was replaced and he's the proud owner of a new tungsten carbide band, also, compliments of the jewlers who were trying to make nice for the nasty mistake they made
*We convinced the dealership to fix our new van for free, sold the Explorer with the bad transmission, and are now officially finished with the whole car mess
*The house is a disaster from me doing nothing but handing out pills and potions for two weeks
*Our newly repaired roof started leaking again...

"Mommy! Stop taking pictures; we want to go outside!"

"We've been waiting and waiting, it looks so cool out there!"

"Hey Benji- maybe Alec will go get Daddy and he'll take us out?"

Yeah, 15 inches of snow sounds cool, but not to Ava who less than thrilled about being in up to her waist and unable to walk!

What's that? Is Ava wearing a costume? Why yes, as a matter of fact, she's wearing her Halloween costume from last year...
For some reason I didn't think to buy her a snowsuit this winter, but that costume sure has gotten a lot of use!
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The boys had a blast, the snow was up to Benji's knees...

Our backyard was somewhat unrecognizeable; we kept stumbling on assorted toys and lawn furniture buried under the snow. Maybe we'll pick up and put away next fall...

I'm ready for spring now in a big way, although it never fails to snow or something equally as disappointing on Easter. Makes Sunday wardrobe choice for the girls a bit of a challenge!
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I've got strep throat. Alec has conjunctivitis (pink eye) and a cold, Benji has a double ear infection and conjunctivitis, and Ava has a cold with a fever, a shiny snot-face, and conjunctivitis. We've definitely been better!

I'm fairly laid back when it comes to going to our family practice MD. I typically diagnose the cause of the illness on my own and treat it with various homeopathics, herbs, and natural remedies, with great success. Once in a great while, though, my resources fail me and I let our MD. do the diagnosing. Even then, I usually take his opinion into consideration, but turn down conventional medicine (ie: antibiotics) in favor of the natural stuff.

This, however, was one of those even rarer occasions when not only did I go see Dr. MD, but I also actually filled all the prescriptions he gave us! I was just too sick with that strep throat (they should call it "porcupine throat"!) to think with a clear head and make decisions regarding the kids.

I ended up taking an antibiotic, gave Benji one for his ear infections, and am using antibiotic eye drops for Alec (who has to go back to school tomorrow). As far as the other 4 infected eyes go, I am using colloidal silver in them. I've done this before and had great results. I intend to post eventually about the wide range of benefits that colloidal silver has, but in the meantime, here are some interesting excerpts about conjunctivitis from one of my favorite books, Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. (Janet Zand, N.D., L.Ac., Robert Rountree, M.D., Rachel Walton, MSN, CRNP)

"Conjunctivitis. . .is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the white of the eye. The overwhelming majority of cases of conjunctivitis in older children are caused by viruses, although in rare cases a bacterial infection may be responsible."

"Most cases of simple conjunctivitis last from five to seven days. If you are treating your child for conjunctivitis as home and notice no improvement in that time, take your child to a doctor."

"Warm water compresses are the treatment of choice. Many of the microorganisms that cause conjunctivitis are exquisitely heat sensitive. the heat also loosens up debris and increases blood flow through the area which helps the body's natural defense." (it is recommended to do the compresses for 10 min., 4-6 times a day)

"Eliminate refined sugars from your child's diet. Sugar makes the body more acidic, which inhibits healing. In addition, bacterial infections thrive in the presence of sugar. Encourage your child to eat berries and green and yellow vegetables and fruits, which are high in fiber and rich in vitamins A and C and bioflavonoids." Not only do these nutrients support the immune system, but vitamin A heals mucous membranes, and vitamin C and bioflavonoids foster healing and are mildly anti-inflammatory.

I was most interested to learn that most cases of pinkeye are caused by a virus. That would explain why all three kids seemed to have a cold that came before the eye irritation. I also found the information valuable because antibiotics are useless against a virus, so the eye drops prescribed by my Dr. MD are most likely not going to be helpful. Unless I do continue to use the colloidal silver (which is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral), their bodies will essentially be recovering from the pink eye on their own.

With this, I bid farewell; I'm taking this week off from blogging to concentrate on getting us all well and back in the loop.
See you next Monday!


It seems that whenever one of us is sick, our holistic chiropractor tells us to take massive amounts of Calcium Lactate. I've had a basic understanding of why, but I wanted more answers. Here's what a little research uncovered.

Calcium is essential for many bodily functions other than bone mineralization. They include muscle contraction, nerve conduction, maintenance and function of cell membranes, blood coagulation, and proper functioning of many of the body's enzyme systems.

Calcium is also the most abundant mineral found in the human body. It assists in the immune response actions formed by the white blood cells, helps maintain our acid/base balance, and maintains protective intestinal flora.

The best sources of calcium are, of course, whole foods (NOT dairy products- more on that later!). Green leafy vegetables (collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli, to name a few) seeds, raw nuts, some dried fruits (namely figs) and white beans are just a sampling of the ways God has provided for us to get an adequate supply of calcium.

Despite the fact that one may eat well, consuming large quantities of the appropriate fruits and vegetables, our bodies will use up those "naturally occurring" sources of calcium very rapidly when our immune systems are overloaded. Also, teething infants and growing children use massive amounts of calcium as their bodies are forming teeth, nervous systems, blood vessels and larger bones.

This is where the calcium supplements come into play. For more information on which ones to use and how much to take, visit http://www.mercola.com/ or http://www.standardprocess.com/.

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Alec is working hard on his Cub Scouts requirements to earn his next patch. Feeding an animal outdoors was one of them. . .hmmm, I wonder if feeding Polly (our cat) on the front porch every morning counts?
Daddy decided that they needed to fill up our backyard birdfeeders, and was teaching them about the differences in seeds and which birds were attracted to them.
I think it's a little late in the season to decide to start feeding the flying flocks, by now they've already established their winter food sources. Hopefully some will wander our way; Marvin told the boys that if one bird ate the seeds and liked them, he would call the other birds on his "beak phone" and they'd all come to eat. I wonder which network they use?
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With our free passes in hand (compliments of Marvin's mom), we took our annual trek to the Home and Garden Show on Saturday. The building we always love to go into is amazing. All the top landscapers in the area come and create these front-yard sized landscapes, complete with blooming flowers and huge trees. They always have a different theme; this year is was "Storybook Gardens". There was a Noah's ark, a Narnia (that you entered through a wardrobe, of course!) and a Hundred Aker Wood, among others.

This one was Mr. Magregor's garden (from The Tales of Peter Rabbit)

I wanted to take this adorable little stone house home with us! It's incredible that all this is indoors and stays alive and vibrant for over a week.
Benji was a bit whiny, he had slept on the way there and doesn't like to be interrupted from his nap. At one point I had to tell him, "Benji, please just enjoy the gardens- our yard will never look like this!" (If you've read my profile, you'll see that it says I dream of being an exceptional gardener. . .)
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The jewlers lost Marvin's wedding band.

He took it in to be repaired. They called him and said that it couldn't be fixed, and did he want them to send him another one. He told them no, that he just wanted his old ring back.
A couple of weeks later he got a phone call saying that his ring was in. He put it on in the store, and then took it right back off because it didn't fit his finger. Then he noticed that it looked really shiny and new. Then he looked inside and saw the absence of the engraving and the custom sizing balls that he had put in. They had sent him a ring that was definitely NOT his.

He's spent close to a week playing phone tag with various supervisors and managers but to no avail. The ring that we picked out together nearly 11 years ago, the ring the I placed on his finger on our wedding day as we said our vows, the ring that was on his hand when he held our newborn babies, the ring that symbolizes two hearts forever joined, the ring is gone.
I am absolutely crushed. I cried for a long time the night he told me.

They'll replace it, of course, but that thought just makes me laugh. Who can replace something so priceless, so timeless, as a wedding band?

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